Tsarist Russia's commercial class is today receiving serious attention from both Russian and non-Russian historians. This book is a contribution to that literature. Commerce in Russian Urban Culture, 1861-1914 examines the relation between the entrepreneurial world, especially business and banking, and the cultural milieu of Russia. Going beyond the commercial-cultural connection of charitable activity, the contributors to this collaborative project also study cultural activity undertaken by enterprises for their own purposes, notably bank and commercial architecture.
"Culture and commerce" encompasses two areas in this volume. The first is the business milieu itself as a social and cultural phenomenon. Class and social stratification, types of entrepreneurs, and their mentality, religious affiliations, and charitable activities and donations are covered. The second is their impact on the form of cities, including not only Moscow and St. Petersburg but Odessa and Nizhnii Novgorod. Banks, insurance companies, and large commercial firms reshaped Russian cities with the construction of buildings for their own operations and retail shops, stock exchanges, mansions, and public buildings.
This book is based on a project of the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.